On the outside I look like every other OU greek student. Nike shorts, letters, and running shoes when it's hot and leggings, boots, and a baggy sweater when it's cold. I love my patagonia, my eno, my sisters, and my north face backpack. I put stickers on my cute purple laptop case, and I love to monogram everything.
I hope by now you've noticed that I'm a little different than most girls though. I suffer from chronic illnesses, which can sometimes make me feel different than my sisters. On the outside I know I look like an average sophomore in college, but that's what invisible illnesses are. I seem so normal until you look closely and see the slight limp I have because my right hip flexor is so tight it won't completely stretch, smell the cloying sent of biofreeze that I have slathered all over my body, or see a small bandage peaking out from sleeve of my shirt because I wrapped a heating pad to my bicep again. You would never know that I was dealing with a pain level of at least a 5 unless I mentioned it to you.
It can be difficult, a sorority really does require a lot out of you. There's required service hours, social events, pomping a float for homecoming, leadership positions, chapter, involvement on campus, mandatory event requirements and so much more. I can honestly say that I love every bit of it, but sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to do it all.
Volunteering is required in my sorority, we have our own philanthropy Service for Sight that I am incredibly passionate about. I'm actually the director who organizes many of the volunteering opportunities for our members. Sometimes though this can be difficult for me. When organizing an event, I sometimes forget to complete a task my VP has given me and end up flustered and extremely apologetic. I can't stand for hours at a time serving lemonade on the south oval or doing manual labor. Sometimes going to class takes up all of my energy and I can't make it to another house's philanthropy event. Many of the times I've had to miss out on another sorority's event was because I had to decide whether to spend the rest of my energy on homework or this event. There are even times were I can't participate in our own volunteer opportunities because I can't physically do them. This can be heartbreaking and make me feel different from my sisters. I can't be as busy as many of my sisters or go all out, all day, every day. I admire those who can because they achieve the most amazing things. I question whether my friend Jaycie or Aimee actually sleep sometimes. I also try to remind myself of how kind and accepting my sisters are, that they aren't going to judge me for my lack of energy but do their best to help me in any way that they can.
I want to beg our house corp. to put in an elevator so that when my knees feel like they're on fire I don't have to walk up to my room. Watching my friends dart up the stairs to the third floor, carry in all of their groceries at once, or even make the long walk from our house to the Engineering buildings (it can take up to 20 minutes to get there) makes me shudder. Watching others do simple things like exercising makes me mourn the person I once was. When my friends go together to the gym, run a 5k together, or even just walk to and from campus corner I feel the little green monster of jealousy in my heart. How can they do that? How in the world do you have the energy???
Being involved on campus is a huge in my sorority, we actually won an award for being the most involved sorority on campus. Therefore, there is a lot of stress put on applying for organizations and leadership opportunities. I do my absolute best to try and stay involved, I hope to run for an executive position for one of my organizations next year, possibly become a zoology tutor, and maybe run for a chapter management team position in my sorority. For now, I can only handle playing a small part for our campus activities council and a directorship position within my sorority. I watch amazing women in my sorority be a part of OU Nightly, head of CAC, on CMT for our Sorority, hold a job, and also make great grades and I just wonder how? I tend to envy them for their ability to stay so busy, I wish I could be that involved. Instead I have learned to dive deep into what I can handle and give 150% to every activity I involve myself with. For me, that is what works best and sometimes makes me feel just as accomplished as the busiest senior. It may not seem like something a normal college student should struggle with, but I don't have the energy to handle too many extracurriculars and focus on my grades.
Then comes the social aspect of a sorority. I have loved every minute of living in my sorority house. It has brought me closer to my member class and truly made Delta Gamma my home, but their can be drawbacks. I watch my sisters go out and have fun several nights in a row or stay up until the early morning hours laughing in the 3rd floor lounge and I can't imagine having the energy to do that. That doesn't stop me from trying though. I have had many late night runs to Whataburger after playing Cards Against Humanity. Some days I don't even have the energy to put on makeup much less get dressed nicely and go into the city for dinner. I tend to feel left out when my friends leave to go do something fun together and I can't go. It's not their fault and I don't want them to even remotely feel bad about enjoying themselves, but it makes me wish my body would let me join them. They would never leave me out of plans on purpose, but they do know my limits and are always conscious of how I am doing. For that I am thankful, without them being so considerate of my weirdness I don't think I could handle college and being chronically ill.
Being in Delta Gamma has changed my life forever. I am proud to be a sorority woman and what I stand for. At times it can be difficult to keep up with the demands that come with being a part of such an amazing organization, but in the end I wouldn't trade my membership for the world.